TPS Takes New Approach To Gilcrease Middle School

Tuesday, January 13th 2009, 9:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Public Schools launches an effort to reclaim a troubled middle school.  The district held a community meeting on Tuesday night to get your help in getting Gilcrease Middle School back on track.

Gilcrease Middle School has had issues before, but the first semester of this year has been very troubling to the district.  First of all, Gilcrease has clocked nearly 400 discipline referrals, since August.  That's nearly triple the number from the same time period last year.  Add to high teacher turnover, with six bailing already this year, and you have a recipe for an at-risk school to continue to fail.

The first thing the school district wants to do is sit down and talk to the community.  They're also sending the teachers back to school with three days of professional development at the end of January.

One of the issues is Gilcrease has a lot of new teachers with less than a year of experience.  So, they're going to bring in a national expert to arm the teachers with some tools to reach kids.

The district has promised the school and the community that this time is different in terms of the changes they are making.

They're hiring three new administrators and two permanent substitutes to deal with some of those teacher turnover problems.  And, they're going to hire two more teachers to do a school within a school, specifically targeting repeat offenders.  Those students will have intensive help with reading and math, in a small school setting.

And, those students will also meet with a counselor twice a day to deal with things like anger management and problems at home.

One long time Gilcrease teacher told The News On 6 she just hopes the district follows through this time.